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Eelam War by other means

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Both the government and the Fonseka camps are claiming the credit for winning the war. But, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka are using bullet proof cubicles when they address election rallies in some parts of the country. Although they are going places on war victory, they seem to be aware that the threat of terrorism exists, albeit at a manageable level.

At this decisive moment, it behoves the two main contenders for presidency and the voting public who suffered from the scourge of terror for nearly thirty long years not to lose sight of this lingering terrorist threat, which needs to be neutralised once and for all.

The well known 19th Century military theorist Karl Von Clausewitz famously said war was an extension of politics by other means. Similarly, we venture to argue that politics, in some cases, could be an extension of war by other means. It was political means that the LTTE mostly used to further its military interests. It made the best use of cease-fires, peace talks and even regime change for this purpose. In the early 1990s, the LTTE facilitated a regime change by physically eliminating several key UNP leaders including President Ranasinghe Premadasa. Chandrika Kumaratunga's People's Alliance came to power in 1994. Thereafter the LTTE launched Eelam War III in 1995, having talked peace with a naïve Chandrika for a few months. Prabhakaran again used politics as an extension of war in 2002, when he offered a unilateral truce, which the Wickremesinghe government fell for, hook, line and sinker. The LTTE replenished its stocks, recruited thousands of cadres, internationalised the conflict as never before, gained a great deal of legitimacy and reverted to war in 2006. The rest is history.

Today, although Prabhakaran is no more, the Diasporic Tigers and their local agents are busy creating an environment conducive to the revival of the LTTE. They are making a desperate attempt at securing the release of hardcore Tigers in captivity, having the army withdrawn from the newly liberated areas, where there are still many hidden arms caches and plunging the country into a political turmoil so as to fish in troubled waters. Even the dyed-in-the-wool LTTE activists who initially called for a polls boycott and vilified Fonseka have changed their stance and are now trying to cash in on the situation by bartering votes for pledges to grant their wishes.

These secessionist forces have tried to achieve their goal with the help of some political parties on several occasions. The UNP, the JVP and the TNA joined hands twice after the eruption of Eelam War IV at Mavil Aru in 2006, to defeat budget votes (in 2007 and 2008) and bring about a regime change but to no avail. They were ably assisted in that task by some members of the international community. The same forces are at work again!

The battle formations are now clear on the political front and next week's crucial election will be a contest between the forces that sought to scuttle the war and those who really defeated terrorism, the only difference being that the former army chief is today a willing captive of the UNP-JVP-TNA combine which is putty in hands of the foreign governments sympathetic to the LTTE. A man is known by the company he keeps!

The JVP has dropped its mask of pseudo patriotism at long last and is flirting with Norway. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, who used to vent his spleen on Norway accusing it of sponsoring LTTE terrorism, has suddenly realised that Sri Lanka should forge strong ties with that country! Ironically, a few weeks ago, the JVP lashed out at India over what it called a move to interfere in Sri Lanka's internal affairs!

Thus, going by the not so hidden agendas of the political forces in the two camps, it may be argued that next week's electoral exercise is not only a presidential election but also a referendum of sorts where people will decide whether to help create conditions for the revival of remnant secessionist forces in a state of suspended animation or to trounce them.

~ The Island ~

 

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